How to Explain the Proposed Constitutional Convention to Skeptics …

Are you finding it difficult to explain your opposition to the proposed New York State Constitutional Convention to friends and neighbors? Betty Baran of Retiree Council 23 create a fact sheet to help. Click MORE to read the fact sheet, or download the in Fact Sheet PDF format.

Proposed Constitutional Convention Talking Points

The convention will use resources better spent elsewhere …
The last convention held in 1967 cost $150 million dollars; the estmate for 2017 is twice that. The delegates each get the salary of a NYS assembly person ($79,500), their staff gets paid (friends and relatives?), they get meals, transportation, and an expense account. They get the salary regardless of how many days they had to work. There is a rental cost for the meeting hall and the WIFI for the meeting (number of days undetermined).

It will not be a “people’s convention”…
At the last conven on in 1967, 4 out of 5 delegates were career politicians, attorneys, and Albany insiders. People from an established party need 1,000 signatures to run; people independent of a political party need 5,000 signatures, and at-large delegates need 15,000 signatures. Only party affiliated people have the mechanism to collect these signatures, and the name recognition to get the votes.

It’s not the best way to adopt needed ethics reform …
If the politicians already in Albany haven’t yet put through ethics reform in their normal work sessions, how will paying them a delegate’s salary ($79,500) make them more willing to tackle ethics reform? There is already a proposition on the ballot this November dealing with ethics reform. A cost-free way to deal with ethics reform is through the amendment process already in existence.

What are some of the major changes that might affect the way we live today?
A. “Forever wild” provisions could be changed to allow fracking, lumbering, mining in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and other wild areas.
B. A guaranteed right to a free public education could be changed to allow for more charter schools and vouchers in the state, and tax caps could become mandatory.
C. Pension benefits that “cannot be diminished or impaired” could be changed to allow for diminishment in the form of paying state income taxes on the pension, and non-reimbursement of Medicare part B. It would also open to door to future changes in the amount of a pension, even to those already receiving a pension. The state could be allowed to borrow against the pensions system, thereby destabilizing it. This has happened in other states.
D. Voting changes could be enacted, like making an absentee ballot not available unless you will be physically out of state. This would affect many senior citizens, college students; and those who are without a means of transportation to get to the polls, who are working during the hours that the polls are open or who can’t get there in time.
E. Collective bargaining and workers’ rights to unionize could become restricted as has happened in other states.
F. Age discrimination in housing and jobs could be enacted, which is important because by 2020 31% of people between 65-75 will still be working.
G. Worker protections such as minimum wage, workers compensation, child labor regulations, 8-hour day, and how overtime is treated could be changed.
H. Social welfare, public relief benefits and oversight and protections for nursing homes could be changed.
I. A bi-cameral legislature could be changed, making the legislature one house.
J. NYS could be divided into two states, upstate and downstate, as the organiza on Divide NYS Caucus would like.
K. A prohibition on gambling could be lifted, which could mean more casinos all around the state.